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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Miguel Zenon: Yo Soy La Tradicion

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As a rule, it is best to encounter a piece of music with an appreciation of its provenance. For jazz listeners, even though the act of listening is an exercise in discovery, roots are rarely an issue. That is, until an artist delivers something novel. Such is the case with Yo Soy La Tradicion by saxophonist Miguel Zenón. The Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundation Fellowships recipient was commissioned in 2016 by the Hyde Park Jazz Festival to compose a suite for ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Miguel Zenon: Yo Soy La Tradicion

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With You Soy La Tradicion, alto saxophonist Miguel Zenon digs deep into his Puerto Rican roots with an exploration of his take on the “jazz with strings" genre. This is his eleventh CD release as a leader. He dabbled in the approach with Awake (Marsalis Music, 2008), adding a string quartet to his jazz quartet on a handful of the disc's tunes. Yo Soy La Tradition is a purer string/horn experience--just Zenon's golden-toned alto sax joining forces with the Spektral ...

IN PICTURES

Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival 2017

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The phrase, “the festival will go on come rain or shine," never rang more true than at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival. Even with on and off showers, the streets were packed with jazz lovers every night. The lineup, from top to bottom, was impressive. There was a great mixture of seasoned and emerging artists. With over 300 events including several free shows, the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival has built a strong reputation as a world class jazz ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Miguel Zenon: Tipico

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The saying “like butta" comes to mind when listening to the alto of saxophonist Miguel Zenón. His tone has the consistency of velvety cream, with nary a sour note. Hearing him in the context of his long-standing quartet, we get something like the voguish bulletproof coffee, which consists of butter, whipped into your favorite cup of joe. Such is Tipico, a graceful outing with a caffeinated blast.This stimulant is made possible because Zenón's quartet of pianist Luis Perdomo, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Miguel Zenon: Tipico

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The vintage cover photograph on Tipico, of Puerto Rican musicians, might lead one to believe that this is a continuance of alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón's jazz adaptations revolving around his heritage and homeland. But this is not the case. On this release, he hones in on his bandmates, and the music is centered on what each individual member contributes to the ensemble, and overall sound. His quartet for over a decade now is comprised of pianist Luis Perdomo, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Miguel Zenon: Identities Are Changeable

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It would simply be enough to just hear Miguel Zenón's saxophone; its fluid, darting, humming bird-like maneuvers, soulful and piercing. Yet as one of the most distinctive altos in jazz, the Grammy nominated and Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellow is also a gifted composer who continues to deliver insights into his culture as vividly expressed in 2011's Alma Adentro: The Puerto Rican Songbook and 2009's Esta Plena, both released on Marsalis Music. His ninth recording as a leader, ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Miguel Zenon Quartet at 36th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival

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Miguel Zenon Quartet Millenium Park, Jay Pritzker Pavilion 36th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival jny: Chicago, IL August 31st 2014 The last evening of the festival was pleasantly warm and mild and the millennium park, around the Jay Pritzker Pavilion band shell was packed with people. The Frank Gehry designed signature stainless steel headdress with its custom designed sound system to replicate impeccable indoor acoustics has been the new home of the festival for the ...

INTERVIEWS

Miguel Zenon: Celebrating the Music of La Isla

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For the last decade, saxophonist Miguel Zenón has distinguished himself as one of the most innovative and creative musicians in the modern jazz idiom. The Puerto Rican-born altoist accomplished this feat by reaching back to the musical and cultural traditions of his island. On groundbreaking recordings such as Jibaro (Marsalis Music, 2005) and Esta Plena (Marsalis Music, 2009), Zenón paid musical homage to the rich rhythms of Bomba and Plena. Alma Adentro (Marsalis Music, 2011) was a heartfelt tribute to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Miguel Zenon & The Rhythm Collective: Oye!!! Live In Puerto Rico

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Puerto Rican pride oozes from every album under alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón's name. Most recently, he explored plena music in a jazz context on the winning Esta Plena (Marsalis Music, 2009), and put a new spin on songs from the Puerto Rican Songbook with Alma Adentro (Marsalis Music, 2011). While those projects differ greatly, with rough-and-tumble antics on the former and an air of refinement on the latter, they're both built on sturdy conceptual platforms that are supported by Puerto ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Miguel Zenon / Laurent Coq: Rayuela

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Inspired by Julio Cortáza's sweeping and influential novel, Rayuela (Pantheon, 1963), pianist Laurent Coq and saxophonist Miguel Zenón transform parts of the Argentinean writer's famous work into a memorable jazz release. Written in Spanish, and published in 1963, the title literally means “Hopscotch." The text has been described as an “introspective stream-of-consciousness" and a “masterpiece of ingenuity and originality," with an astounding 155 chapters that can be read linearly, or without chronological order, leading to multiple thought-provoking conclusions.